India 'A' batsmen failed to deliver when it mattered the most as they crashed to a 121-run defeat in the second unofficial 'Test' against South Africa 'A', who rode on seamer Beuran Hendricks' six-wicket haul to level the two-match series 1-1 in Pretoria, on Tuesday.
The visitors lost despite fighting half-centuries by Ajinkya Rahane (86) and Wriddhiman Saha (77 not out) who fought gallantly to steer India to victory after a top order collapse.
Hendricks finished with excellent figures of six for 27 from 17 overs to finish with 11 wickets in the match, while Simon Harmer chipped in with three for 79.
Chasing a stiff 307-run target for victory, Rahane and Saha kept India's hopes alive with a brisk 160-run stand for the sixth wicket after they were struggling on 18 for five at one stage.
India 'A' had won the first 'Test' by an innings and 13 runs at Rustenburg.
The visitors fought back after the top order collapse to recover to 177 for five at tea with both Rahane and Saha at the crease before the tables completely turned around after the break with the visitors losing five wickets for just seven runs.
Rahane's dismissal triggered the collapse as the tailenders caved in meekly.
Even as Saha tried hard to put up a brave fight but he kept losing partners at the other end. He remained unbeaten on 77 off 183 balls including 11 boundaries.
Earlier, resuming the day on three for one, India lost four wickets in quick succession for just 17 runs, as Hendricks struck three early blows.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who resumed on 2, failed to add to his overnight total as Jutin Ontong ran him out.
Hendricks, who dismissed opener Murali Vijay (2) on Monday, accounted for the other three wickets -- overnight batsman Shahbaz Nadeem (5), Dinesh Karthik (0) and Ambati
Rayudu (1) -- to leave the Indians in tatters, before Rahane and Saha came to the team's rescue.
Both Rahane and Saha played with a lot of caution and made sure that the Indians did not lose any more wickets. The duo frustrated the host bowlers as they hit half-centuries.
But soon after the tea interval, Hendricks got the breakthrough for his team by sending back Rahane for a well-made 156-ball 86, studded with 10 fours.
Saha tried his best to keep one end intact but quickly ran out of partners.
Unfortunately for India, barring Rahane and Saha, no other batsmen could reach the double-figure mark.
Along with Hendricks, Harmer saw off the tail in virtually no time to bundle India all out for 185 in their second innings.
Stuart Binny (4), Parvez Rasool (1), Ishwar Pandey (0) and Siddarth Kaul (0) failed miserably even as Hendricks and Harmer wreaked havoc.
India's first innings had folded for a meagre 201 in reply to South Africa's 341. In the second essay the Proteas declared at 166 for five to set the visitors a stiff target.
South Africa 'A' 1st innings: 341
India 'A' 1st innings: 201
South Africa 'A' 2nd innings: 166 for five declared
India 'A' 2nd innings (overnight 3-1)
Cheteshwar Pujara run out (Ontong) 2
Murali Vijay b B Hendricks 0
Shahbaz Nadeem c Bavuma b B Hendricks5
Ajinkya Rahane b B Hendricks 86
Dinesh Karthik c R Hendricks b B Hendricks1
Ambati Rayudu c Tsolekile b B Hendricks 1
Wriddhiman Saha not out 77
Stuart Binny lbw b Harmer 4
Parvez Rasool lbw b B Hendricks 1
Ishwar Pandey b Harmer0
Siddarth Kaul c Bavuma b Harmer 0
Extras: (b-1, lb-4, nb-4) 9
Total: (all out; 66.2 overs) 185
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-3, 3-8, 4-8, 5-18, 6-178, 7-183, 8-184, 9-185, 10-185.
Bowling: K Abbott 13-2-40-0, B Hendricks 17-8-27-6, S Harmer 21.2-2-79-3, A Birch 11-2-22-0, D Elgar 2-0-6-0, J Ontong 2-0-6-0.
Image: Ajinkya Rahane